From left to right: Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Helena Christensen. There they stood, like statues; there they posed, like models; and there they walked, like legends. It's not often we get to use those names in the same sentence anymore — save for ye olde occasional Balmain campaign — but on Friday, some of our favourite '90s-era supermodels came together to commemorate the legacy, and death, of the late Gianni Versace. A reunion for the ages, the iconic catwalk queens closed the brand's 20th anniversary show like only Gianni's Girls could.
But that was the easy part, considering they were among the ones who first walked to Freedom! 90 for Versace himself in, well, 1990. It went down as one of the greatest, most epic moments in fashion history. Alongside Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and more, they began what some would consider the most important era in fashion, with Versace leading the charge. And today's event called for a stunt just as genius. After showing the label's Ss18 collection, designed by Versace's sister, Donatella, who took over the Italian fashion house following his death in 1997, the supermodels took to the catwalk, side-by-side, just as they did 20 years ago. "This is for you, Gianni," said a voice from behind the curtain — and then the music played.
"This collection is a Tribute to the life and works of Gianni," Donatella Versace explained in a press statement. "We pay homage to not only his artistic genius but to who he was as a man, and above all, as my brother. Gianni was an exceptional person for how he celebrated each day as though it were extraordinary and for how he always approached life with a smile on his lips. Each year Gianni lived, he lived to its fullest: throughout his career, he created collections that to this day are considered a cultural point of reference and inspiration to many. It would be impossible to commemorate Gianni's entire world in a single collection, therefore, I have decided to honour his legacy with his beloved prints and dazzling metal mesh. This collection is for you, Gianni."
Such is any Versace display, all of today's top models were there, too: Kendall Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kaia Gerber, Taylor Hill, Candice Swanepoel, Anja Rubik (who now only works the catwalk on special occasions), Teddy Quinlivan, Natasha Poly, Doutzen Kroes, and more. Of course, how could we go without highlighting the fact that the moment marks Cindy Crawford and daughter Kaia Gerber's first (and hopefully not last) show together.
In terms of the clothes themselves, showgoers and Versace diehards were reminded of how strong a hand the label had in shaping the fashion of the '90s. All of the signature prints were in tow: old Vogue covers printed over silky slip dresses, denim jackets adorned with larger-than-life jewels, vintage tees, and near-exact replicas of the Warhol-inspired gown worn first by Campbell at the historic spring 1991 show (now on Vittoria Ceretti). The notion that Generation Z is nostalgic for the era that saw the harmony of grunge, minimal, and glam isn't lost on those of us who crave a similar type of excitement. And today's event solidified Versace as a leading force in fashion, then and now.
Recent months have seen rumours of whether or not Donatella Versace is soon to step away from the brand circulate through fashion's inner crowd. It's been said that everyone from Riccardo Tisci to Virgil Abloh could take over, but nothing — and everything — has yet to be confirmed. However, in terms of timing, this event felt less serendipitous as it did a very carefully planned, Versace-style exit, in which the memorial collection could potentially be Donatella Versace's swan song. We couldn't think of a better way to go out, and with such an epic bang as that. But whoever is chosen to continue the Versace legacy has very, very tall shoes to fill.